Pavé revitalizes the European baking trade

Pavé’s fresh bread and quaint interior set it apart from other cafes and bakeries in New York City.

With November well under way, autumn leaves have blanketed the city streets and temperatures have dropped to a wintry chill. As New Yorkers adjust to the dreary days, they also seem to be looking for the perfect cozy cafe to enjoy the end of fall over a hot drink. A café and bakery that opened about two months ago, Pavé is the place to be: an understated, welcoming sanctuary.

Whether you’re picking up your friend at the Port Authority or running home via Penn Station, Pavé is open to any passerby who happens upon its striking blue storefront on West 46th Street. It has a charm that is missing from the countless Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts that fill Midtown. From its exposed brick walls and wooden chairs to the mismatched doorknobs used as holders for table numbers, Pavé exudes the same feel as a quaint European café. Plus, with ample seating, outlets, and free WiFi, it’s the ideal place to hang out with friends or work.

Despite being relatively new, Pavé already feels like an established part of the neighborhood. Stepping inside, one is likely to hear some regulars chatting with staff, international tourists deciding which cakes to take back to their hotel, and college students catching up over tea and scones. Pavé offers its clients a sense of community, bringing together tourists and native New Yorkers.

But what makes Pavé stand out from the sea of ​​other bakeries and keeps customers coming back for more is the quality of its food, which is due in part to its freshly baked bread. Jonghun Won, the owner of Pavé, opened this European-style cafe to offer New Yorkers delicious fresh bread made using simple French baking techniques, a service he says is disappearing in the city.

“I never imagined opening a business in New York City, but I think it’s very hard to find a place that uses fresh bread to make sandwiches like before,” Won said. “I think the local people want that kind of bread, and if there is a need, why not provide it? ”

Won’s business partner Jin Ahn, owner noreetuha Hawaiian restaurant in the East Village, emphasized the allure of a handmade craft like bread making.

“Won had a vision to have that freshly baked bread catered to New Yorkers, and it’s a dying art,” Ahn said. “I mean, everything that is handmade or handmade, things that we used to take for granted, artisanal, seems to be disappearing more and more lately.”

Won’s passion for baking stems from his experience working as an executive pastry chef at jungsik in seoul Y New Yorkwhere he met Ahn, and in Balthazar Bakery like a bread mixer. This love for baking led him to open La Tabatiere in 2015located in New Jersey, offering a wide variety of breads, pastries, and cakes for pickup and delivery.

Coming from South Korea, Won said there are some Korean influences present in her cakes, like the green tea bun on the Pavé menu. Despite these influences, Won insists that Pavé is not a Korean coffee, but instead keeps things simple to make good bread. With Pavé, as with La Tabatiere, Won’s main focus in baking is what he calls “classic, simple things,” like croissants and baguettes.

“Maybe there will be a stage, once I reach a certain point, [where I can] probably include some variation – introduce more Korean elements into the food,” Won said. “But for now, I want to focus more on the classic stuff.”

Pavé offers many of the classic items found in French cafes, including a generous selection of sandwiches, salads, baked goods, and beverages. Some of their most popular dishes are the fresh and tasty burrata salad and the brioche stuffed with passion fruit. Like the green tea bun, the brioche is light and not overwhelmingly sweet, which, according to my Korean mom, is the highest compliment a cake can receive.

Ahn remembers having a conversation with Won before he opened his first bakery in New Jersey about the European aspects of his baking. He asked her why he didn’t choose to include more Korean or broader Asian elements in his work.

“I said, ‘Hey, why don’t you put on some Asian accents or bring your heritage to life?’” Ahn said. “But he said, ‘Well, you know, that’s not really what I want to do. I like baguettes, I like classic French bread, I like the bread you get from Germany, I like this French butter, I like the flour you find in European countries, and when you go there you get these classic things and the classic things they’re made with simple ingredients and well executed, that’s what I want to do.’”

Over time, Won said he hopes to add more pastries and baked goods to Pavé’s menu, such as ham and egg croissants, one of the most popular items at his New Jersey bakery. For now, Pavé’s main goal is to get the word out to more people. Ahn says that Pavé is currently on a few delivery sites, like Sharebite and Grubhub, but hopes to expand to Uber Eats and DoorDash.

“Survival is number one,” Ahn said. “Having diners come back to us again and again because they find this to be something beautiful, something dignified, and something worth supporting.”

Contact Jasmine Venet in [email protected]

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